Corpus Christi: Streets are decorated with flowers in honour of Christ
Holiday. Corpus Christi.
When? On the 60th day after Easter Sunday. It always falls on the Thursday after Trinity Sunday, between 21st May and 24th June.
Where? Austria and many other Catholic countries.
The meaning. Corpus Christi, also known as Corpus Domini, is a Catholic holiday. In the Catholic liturgy, it is known as the "Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ", which means the tradition and belief in the body and blood of Jesus Christ and his real presence in the Eucharist.
In Austria Corpus Christi is a public holiday.
How it is celebrated. The most important part of the celebration is the Holy Mass. At the end of it there is often a solemn procession of the Blessed Sacrament. A priest or a deacon carries a "monstrance”, a vessel with small glass windows and decorated with gold and gems, which is used for the public display of relics of some saints. The procession is followed by the Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament, prayers and songs. White-dressed girls scatter petals, men carry waving flags and a baldachin. The streets and altars are traditionally decorated with birch twigs and flowers. This procession is meant to show that faith in Christ lives not only within the church walls but also in the outside world.
Family traditions. Elke and Hannes Klammer, both pensioners, have been living in Villach for many years. Hannes is a Catholic, his wife is a Protestant. It does not actually prevent the couple from having a harmonious relationship and celebrating all holidays together.
"Unfortunately not many people go to church nowadays", Hannes says. "Most of young people have other interests. But for me personally it’s important to celebrate the significant Catholic feasts and to attend church on a regular basis".
"The Evangelical Church doesn’t celebrate Corpus Christi", Elke tells. "However, I observe the solemn procession with great interest. Carpets of natural flowers decorate our streets on this day, it’s amazing! Hannes and I never miss any chance to have a wonderful day. On Corpus Christi we make a trip after the mass, for example, a boat cruise at the Ossiachersee. We are very active, love music and nature and enjoy life".